Locked Church Doors
Locking Church Doors
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Question / Issue:
"Why has our Catholic
church started to lock its doors? It used to be that the door was always open
and now during the day, you find them locked."
Answer / Resources:
[click link(s) below, as applicable]
It is quite
unfortunate that churches ever need to be locked – ideally a church should be
open 24/7/365. However, concerns over vandalism & theft may have caused the
situation you are describing. You may recall that previous generations could
"safely" leave their home's windows and doors open at night, but not any more.
It is a sad fact that vandalism & theft at Catholic churches does occur. I
recall some cases of theft of relics, theft & destruction of statues, and
graffiti in our news pages (for detail, try
here). Parishes today may feel it is necessary to take this step in order to
prevent such occurrences. However, I would think you should be able to gain
access to the parish at least during 'business hours'. I would suggest contacting
the office regarding this matter.
In case it helps, I've seen one parish
with a perpetual adoration chapel install a combination lock on the door so that
authorized persons could come and go at any time but the door was still locked
against those who should not be able to enter – e.g. vandals who would not have
the (presumably) frequently changed combination. This arrangement meets the
needs of the faithful to enter the parish while also protecting the church. If you think that might
be a workable idea in your parish, you might want to contact them to see if it
could be arranged.
You might also be
interested in the following quotes...
"Above all, do
not allow – as some do, who are deceived under the pretext of restoring the
liturgy or who idly claim that only liturgical rites are of any real value and
dignity – that churches be closed during the hours not appointed for public
functions, as has already happened in some places: where the adoration of the
august Sacrament and visits to our Lord in the tabernacles are neglected; where
confession of devotion is discouraged; and devotion to the Virgin Mother of God,
a sign of 'predestination' according to the opinion of holy men, is so
neglected, especially among the young, as to fade away and gradually vanish.
Such conduct most harmful to Christian piety is like poisonous fruit, growing on
the infected branches of a healthy tree, which must be cut off so that the
life-giving sap of the tree may bring forth only the best fruit." (Pope Pius
XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)
"Can. 1221 Entry
to a church at the hours of sacred functions is to be open and free of charge."
(1983 Code of Canon Law)
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